What do two chefs cook for each other? Friends and customers frequently ask us this question, and we're sure their imaginations run wild as they conjure up great, multi-course feasts. Surely we love nothing more than spending the evening at home in the kitchen--experimenting and tasting, then raising a glass of wine at the table with friends--but most often we don't finish at the restaurant until late at night after the last diner has left.
When we finally do get home, having given little thought to our own now-raging hunger, we rely on nothing more glamorous than a cupboard stocked with dried pasta, virgin olive oils, canned tomatoes, tomato paste and simple spices, plus fresh garlic and onions and a windowsill filled with fresh herbs.
Our midnight pasta ritual started out as a lighthearted competition between us. The rules are simple: using as few ingredients as possible, prepare a delicious sauce in the time it takes to cook a pot of pasta. The speed with which the sauces are prepared ensures the fresh, clean, pure flavors we are always striving for. In this collection of recipes, pasta is the star and all the other ingredients are there in supporting roles to complement its flavor and texture. Serve these simple dishes with red or white wine and a crisp salad for a meal that's perfect at midnight--or any other time of day.
Johanne Killeen and George Germon, chef-owners of Al Forno Restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island, are the authors of Cucina Simpatica (Harper Collins). They are currently at work on a new cookbook that will be published by Scribner.
JEANNE ROGERS, who is a co-owner of Il Capriccio in Waltham, Massachusetts, and consults on the wine list at Al Forno, provided the wine suggestions.